Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sewing update: The nightmare dirndl dress

In my bid to sew more vintage patterns I thought I would try something that looks simple, fun and great for summer. In came the '3 1/2 hour dress' that I had seen floating around on pinterest. Let me tell you, the techniques are simple enough, but the tricky thing is making it not look like a shapeless sack. I had almost finished this dress and had tried it on to find that I looked like a less glamorous cousin of the 'Paper Bag Princess'.

 I have nearly given up on this dress twice, I have unpicked and re-sewn the bias binding elastic channels at least four times because the placement made me look like a michelin man. I have chopped and re-shaped the bust and put in slits for arm holes. I am yet to create straps or hem it simply because as of yet I do not have the patience. So much work has gone into such a simple dress that I cannot believe it! When I was going to press the bias tape I even dropped the iron on my sewing desk, it made quite a hole....I guess ikea is no match for an iron! :P

As this is just an update to let you know about progress I thought I'd show you some pictures so you can feel my pain too! I can't wait until it's finished and I HOPE that it will be worth it.

One of the many times I tried placing the bias tape

No straps - pinned to a bra on my mannequin

I hope you have all had a lovely week!

Alecia xx

Friday, 20 February 2015

Taking stock: Feb

I read Pip's from Meet Me At Mike's February 'taking stock' post and thought it was such a lovely idea. She left an empty set so you can make your own post so I though I'd participate.

Making: Making the most of what little summer holidays I have before university begins again.
Cooking: Cooking in this terrible heat is awful. I seem to be literally cooking, I hate Feb for this very reason! :P
Drinking : Tea! Endless cups of tea! Even though its hot I will always have tea. My favourites are thisthis and this.
Reading: A whole range of books that I have accumulated lately. Currently reading this and this  I especially want to get through the Human Rights Commission inquiry into the children in immigration detention camps which I feel is important and in my area of study (mental health).
Wanting: A bigger bookshelf and bigger teapot....preferably one like this, I know, I'm dreaming!  
Looking: Looking towards the future and being excited as to what this year has in store.
Playing: Playing in the river at sunset while my boyfriend goes and takes photos. Climbing rocks, watching fish and jellyfish, cooling off my feet in the water and fighting the urge to jump right in.
Deciding: What computer I need to replace my old one before uni. Mac? PC? 
Wishing: For a couple of days of winter, just so I can feel all cozy again without getting hot
Enjoying: The last full month of relaxation 
Waiting: for university to start again
Liking: Taking cold showers in the morning to wake up. 
Wondering: About exercises that can be done with a titanium spine 
Loving: Taking cool baths with lush bubble bars, lighting some candles and reading a good book.
Pondering: What ARE those little beach cockroaches down at the river
Considering: Things to do when I'm at uni, such as volunteering and jobs. The job market is quite tough at the moment, but I am lucky enough to live at home so maybe I will do some volunteer work.
Buying: So much new stationary. Stickers, pens, pencils. I've always loved the 'going back to school' or 'going back to uni' time of the year precisely because I LOVE stationary. Kikki-K is heaven! 
Watching: The endless summer thunderstorms from my upstairs window. There is something comforting about seeing such ferocity outside and knowing that you are safe and warm (preferably with a cuppa tea). On TV I have been watching Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell and the new series of the Doctor Blake Mysteries.
Hoping: For the weather to start cooling down and for a good year in terms of academic achievement and personal achievement.
Marvelling: At the jelly fish in the river. I love jelly fish! Besides being so beautiful and majestic they are so interesting as creatures and I adore them.
Cringing: At Australian politics. Always, always, always cringing. 
Needing: The world to be kinder to animals, so much cruelty in the public eye lately and it just makes me so downhearted
Questioning: The greyhound industry, this latest news about live-baiting made me cry.
Smelling: Chloe perfume, Russian caravan tea and summer rain
Wearing: Plain cotton summer dresses and my new Melissa mini mouse flats 
Following: More sewing blogs to keep up my inspiration and to connect with more people.
Noticing: How quickly things change in your hometown after you leave
Knowing: Knowing that I still have so much technique in sewing to master.
Thinking: About these bookmarks that I really don't need but really do. 
Admiring: Those who live without fear of failure (or at least act like they do). I feel like so many things I want to do are clouded by fear and although I know that fear is sometimes a good thing I want to DO more.
Buying: Little things that make me happy, like stickers or a pretty mug. Sometimes you have to just treat yo' self.
Getting: Bored of holidays (I know in a couple of weeks I will be dying for holidays again,  but one gets tired of all this free time with nothing to do). 
Bookmarking: Fun new recipes I want to try. You can see them here! 
Coveting: Gorgeous silky 1930s bias cut dresses that I cannot afford. 
Disliking: Mosquitos that seem to come out in full force as soon as it hits dusk.  I am trialling the Moo Goo tail swat body spray which is supposed to be a natural repellant that isn't toxic. One does not want to overdose on insect repellant (it is possible, trust me). 
Opening: Opening bills seems to become more and more depressing as a student. 
Giggling: At the antics of my dog, she is so funny I cannot even explain. She has this whole huge personality and she is so small and old. It's like she is a grumpy old independent woman trapped in fluffy trousers.
Feeling: Content
Snacking: On green grapes! YUM! 
Comforting: Comforting my dog in the storms and waiting for her to sleep.
Wishing: For infinite amount of wishes (YES I AM THAT PERSON). If I could wish for one I would wish for a huge animal sanctuary farm with a veggie garden and a really big wardrobe and kitchen.
Helping: Myself by getting fitter. I've neglected my physical health since surgery about 3 years ago.....I really need to look after myself.
Hearing: Playing a rain noises app while I read a book and pretend that its raining outside. Reading feels more magical when there's rain.

Monday, 9 February 2015

My sewing story

I feel like everyone has their own story as to why they began sewing. For some it was something passed down by grandmother or mother early on, for some the want of new clothes that fit and for some curiosity. My story came out of the need for a new hobby, something that was mine and that I could work on with something to show for it. It's not particularly romantic or interesting a story. I underwent major spinal surgery and after learning to walk and move around again I immediately felt the need to find something I could entertain myself with for the endless days at home. 

My mother was never a dressmaking sewer, she can mend but her skills were never really passed down to me as her old machine went years before I was interested. The only things I have that link me to any sewing background are the boxed pinking shears from the 30s and a 1930s mccalls sewing book that belonged to my grandpapas first wife who was a dressmaker. I treasure these items! I like to think that her spirit lives on in those items and helps me persevere. I still use them and I like to think that she would be happy that they have been passed down and are still being used. I hope that in the future some of my sewing treasures are passed down and bring with them the love of sewing.

Here I was, sewing even though we had no furniture in our new house! Before we moved in my sewing machine would take up our whole dining table and I would be so upset to have to move it.

I wasn't always so dedicated though, and I do say 'dedicated' sewing does slip during semester. My first proper exposure to sewing came like many others in the home economics class of my country public highschool. Lets just say things were not inspiring and things did not go well. I couldn't thread my machine, I think I nearly blew one up at one stage and I HATED making juggling balls. I never got the fabric I wanted and we spent weeks of sewing lines on paper. They should have called the class 'how not to make something look interesting and fun 101'. I put down my needle and thread and didn't pick it back up for years.

Since I picked it back up I haven't regretted it once. My love for sewing only gets deeper with every triumph and it has given me so much to work on. Part of my love for sewing stems from the fact that you will never stop learning and never stop getting better. There is always something to master and one of the best parts is being able to pull images from your mind and make them happen. It's not always easy and as a beginner I get angry sometimes that I am not better. I get disappointed when projects don't work out, it comes in waves but I wouldn't give it up. 

Why did you start sewing? 

Alecia xx

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Butterick spring pattern round-up

I've become a little bit bored with butterick patterns lately, they aren't brining out as many retro patterns and even the gertie patterns come out in smaller quantities. However I have found some patterns that I like in this most recent release. I'm not going to rush out and buy everything, which is good for my bank account and the many, many patterns I am yet to sew. I think like with everything stages go by when nothing inspires you and then there are times when you think everything is amazing. I'll show you my favourites and the ones that I will definately NOT be buying, I always find it interesting to hear others thoughts on the big four pattern releases so I hope you enjoy and find this useful.

The good (what I will be buying)

B6185 - Misses Jacket, top,  dress, skirt and pants. 

I would buy that outfit straight up.....but then again I will buy anything with navy and white spots. They know my weakness. There has been a breach. 

Oooh yeah look at that collar....and are those POCKETS?

I would wear the s@#t out of that top

I dont work in an office but If I did I would wear that jacket and top every day.

B6167- Gertie Misses dress 

This dress is my favourite design of all. It comes with A/B/C/D cup pattern pieces so you can match your fit to your boobage. I'm already planning many many dresses. It's such a flattering design and I cant wait to get my hands on it.

B6156 - See and Sew top 

I really really like this top, it has a nice 1940s vibe and would look lovely tucked in with a skirt as well as untucked (pictured).  

Same shirt, less gathers, more sleeves and less pronounced tucks. That fabric seems familiar.......*cough* kwiksew *cough*. 

The okay 

B6155 - See and Sew shirt dress

I love me a good shirt dress. I feel this is quite flattering and fuss-free. 

B6175 - See and Sew top 

This is quite nice and the pattern itself has quite a few options such as sleeve length and scalloped hem. I love the collar and I think this would look very cute.

B6164 - Misses dress 

MORE POLKA DOTS! I love this fabric, its beautiful! Its quite a flattering style but it's not entirely my thing. Saying that, I do love the tucks on the neckline.

B6163 - Misses dress

This is a classic, simple style and you can't really go wrong.....except the grey lace in this picture reminds me a bit of mould. 

The not so good (AKA what I will not be buying) 

B6184 - Misses jacket, top, dress and skirt

I feel I would like this more if it wasn't so 1980s business woman.  I've bought an Anthea Crawford pencil skirt from the 80s in the same colour for $2 and the red I'm not completely against 
the colour but the matching suit is going a bit far for my taste. Maybe in black? Maybe as separates?

B6178 - See and Sew Misses culottes  

I don't mind the culottes but the matchy-matchy fabric reminds me of pyjamas. I bet they'd be comfortable! I think they'd look awesome in a plain fabric or something like spots. 

B6171 - Misses Tunic 


B6172 - Misses top and tunic 

To be fair, this is only one of the options, I would like it much better if the weird toilet paper in pants tail was absent. 

B6170 - Misses tunic 

Hospital gown chic? I've spent too much time in hospital gowns of this colour to see anything BUT a hospital gown. Maybe that means hospital gowns are cool?!


Taste and style are completely subjective, my opinion is just an opinion. Everyones opinion counts! Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it isn't or can't be awesome. I love that we all have different styles and I want you to know that if you like something I don't, thats awesome! Variety is the spice of life and we all had the same style life would be so boring.

Also none of these photos are my own and all were taken from the Butterick website. All credit to the photos and illustrations is towards Butterick.